In The Land of Zombies & Scaredy Cats

I went to my doctor’s appointment last week. I hate confronting anything—especially this. It’s one of those things that I know needs to be addressed but a part of me wants to avoid eye contact with it. I noticed that I was the youngest patient in the waiting room. My mind began to wonder about the older patients. Was this my future? Going to psych appointments in my 50s? Living with bipolar disorder as a 33-year-old is challenging enough. Could I stretch this 33 more years?

I never thought that I would have made it to 30. As a teen, I vowed to end my misery before I reached adulthood. I always thought that I would have committed suicide by now. I know that sounds morbid but when you’re living with a mental disorder, it feels quite the opposite. It feels like a source of peace. After a couple of failed attempts in my teens, I decided that I wasn’t really good at it. Plus being a scaredy cat and a people pleaser aren’t adequate ingredients for a suicider. (I doubt that’s an actual word.) And besides, life isn’t unbearable all the time. I tell myself, “Just one more day” whenever I’m feeling very close to the edge.

I would say that guilt and obligation keeps me here for the most part. I have an older brother that my mother has been caring for. She had to modify her life and end her career in order to devote her time to him. It takes a very strong and selfless person to do what she does on a daily basis. I admire her for that. I have to let her know that one day.

I’ll most likely take over the reins if she becomes incapacitated or passes away. She said that she doesn’t want my brother to be a burden to us (or our potential mates) but I can’t bear the thought of him going to a home. He is unable to talk, has epilepsy and is mentally disabled. He wouldn’t be able to tell anyone if he was being mistreated. The mere thought of this reduces me to tears every time.

Wow. I have totally drifted away from the subject at hand—my doctor’s appointment. The doctor assessed my condition and prescribed me Abilify and Prozac. He told me to take them on the regular basis or risked being hospitalized. He also suggested group therapy. I held back tears as he talked and couldn’t wait to get out of his office. I had such high hopes for my appointment but I felt the resistance and fear building up inside of me.

After a few days of taking my meds, I stopped. I felt numb and spacey. I call it the zombie effect. Even though the thought of therapy scared me, I made the decision to go to a session. I figured that it may help me to see the importance of taking medication.

My first therapy session was this morning. I arrived on time but the nurse said that once a certain number of people arrived, the session would begin. I took a seat in the waiting area. After 20 minutes, fear began to set in. The “what ifs” stifled me. My throat felt tight. I  hyperventilated silently and left the premises. The thought of sharing and being vulnerable in front of others scared me. It’s not the same as blogging.

They called my cell about 15 minutes later. I ignored the call.

I know that I have to give the meds another try. I know that I have stay for a session. I know. I know. I know. Sigh.

Back to Medicationville?

My last official psych appointment was in late 2010—unless one was to count that intervention from my insurance company. My insurance company called and asked about the state of my mental health. They noticed that I haven’t seen a psychiatrist or psychologist in a while and had a few questions for me. A few days later, my primary physician called me in to discuss “blood work” but instead I was questioned about my bipolar disorder and lack of medication.

I told her that I was trying to get pregnant and that I was afraid the medication would deform my baby. That was a lie. I wasn’t trying to get pregnant. Hell, I wasn’t even in a relationship! I don’t feel like myself on antipsychotics. My bubbly personality and witty nature is nonexistent. I become the color gray—not too light, too dark. I no longer have a color swatch to choose from. Also, there’s the issue with the weight gain—as if I’m not fat enough. Then there’s this notion that taking meds means that I’m bat shit crazy.

She wrote me a prescription for Seroquel. She said that it was safe for women who were pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Damn it! My excuse lost all of its validity! I actually had to take medicine now. I stopped after a week or so. I didn’t feel like myself. I felt like one of those zombies from the Thriller music video—minus the kick ass choreography.

That was a year ago and I have been suffering ever since.

I can’t talk to my friends and family about this. They don’t understand. I don’t share the extreme burden that this disease has on me. I don’t want them to become their burden too. When I tell them that I’m depressed, they want to know the reason why. Sometimes I don’t need a specific reason to feel that way. I could wake up over the moon and want to hide under it a few minutes or hours later. I don’t get to pick my moods nor can I switch them on and off like a light switch. I wish I could though.

I’m ready to get back on medication and perhaps therapy. I’ve been avoiding medication like it was the plague. My days are beginning to accumulate more darkness and the reckless things I do (or want to do) while maniac isn’t healthy either. I want to be able to live a normal life and not think that someone may be watching me, following me or breaking in while I’m sleeping. It’s time to take control of my bipolar disorder. My appointment is in 2 weeks and I couldn’t be more excited about it.